Linkwater, a stronghold of farming and other rural businesses, became a locality of staunch Maori Party supporters - or so it appeared on election night.

The rural polling booth at the Linkwater School in the Marlborough Sounds, 9km from Havelock, counted a heavy loss for National.

Of the 215 votes in the preliminary results, a true landslide of 123 were cast for the Maori Party and just 32 for National, with 30 for Labour, Fairfax reported.

"I can't believe the stats," retired mussel farmer John Whitworth said. "This is a real National area. That's incredible."


However, the Electoral Commission said there had been a mistake with data entry on election night.

The 123 votes at first recorded for the Maori Party were actually for National.

A commission spokeswoman said all votes were counted again during the official count before final results were declared.

Mistakes such as the one with the Linkwater votes were infrequent and processes were in place to detect them.